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Irate Brian McIver calls foul


Tyrone’s Darren McCurry is tracked down by Derry ace Oisin Duffy

Tyrone’s Darren McCurry is tracked down by Derry ace Oisin Duffy

Lorcan Doherty

Tyrone’s Darren McCurry is tracked down by Derry ace Oisin Duffy

Derry manager Brian McIver was left furious with the decision of referee David Coldrick to award a late free for a challenge by his son, substitute Michael McIver, on Tiernan McCann that resulted in Darren McCurry's levelling free with the last kick of the game.

While Tyrone are now on three points after three games, Derry feel that they deserved more out of the evening that brought their first league point of 2015 after opening defeats to Donegal and Kerry.

"We were the better side coming up to the last few minutes, we were well in control. The free kick at the end, we had turned the ball over and our man was fouled on the way out. It should have been a free kick to us and it's game over," said McIver. "It was a home town decision.

"Decisions were going like that for the great percentage of the night against us... I'm saying nothing."

Pressed on what other decisions may have angered him, the Ardboe man replied: "Take your pick.

"We got a man black-carded for something that Tyrone men got yellows for but we should have won the game and didn't do it."

Having come back from four points down in the last 10 minutes to carve out a draw, Mickey Harte was much more pleased.

Quizzed afterwards if he felt Coldrick got some big calls wrong, Harte explained: "I didn't, I think it was a difficult night and some decisions come your way and some go against you.

"I don't think anyone was hard done by, I think it evened out. We had some calls against us that we would have seen differently, they might have felt that as well. I think Coldrick did a decent job."

On the rescued point, he added: "We are pleased with the draw. When Derry got the goal to go four up, there was only one result.

"We are more than happy that we dug in there and to salvage a draw was admirable for the players to do that."

This was a pig of a game, not helped by the horrific rainy conditions.

With Tyrone bringing their entire XV back behind the halfway line while defending, they were playing an extremely cautious game. While it protected them against the unpredictable attacking talent of Eoin Bradley - who was limited to one point from play - it also denies them chances to create overlaps.

This may be the overriding factor in the Red Hands scoring only one goal in their first three League games.

This game was almost lit up when Padraig McNulty put the advancing Aidan McCrory through on goal just after the quarter-hour mark, but as a defender by trade, he did not possess the craft to steer it beyond Derry goalkeeper Eoin McNicholl.

There was another moment of panic for Derry when Ronan McNabb's shot hit the crossbar and McNicholl collided with Brian Óg McGilligan in the goalmouth while the ball bounced loose. However, the Glenullin custodian ushered the ball to safety.

At the other end, barring Bradley's two points, the only other score came when Carlus McWilliam's speculative ball in bounced over Morgan's crossbar.

Neither side truly mastered the conditions, the wides kicked being forced by the wind, but when Enda Lynn kicked the ball in with nine minutes left, Emmet McGuckin knocked it down to the onrushing Terence O'Brien and the Loup youngster stroked it underneath Morgan to put four points between the sides.

With six minutes left Niall Holly was dismissed for a second yellow card. A flurry of pressure came from Tyrone with McCurry and Sean Cavanagh pointing frees, while Mattie Donnelly got a score.

It appeared that Derry would hang on, but they could not clear their lines sufficiently. It was noticeable at this point how Tyrone produced their most productive football by committing more bodies to attack.

With a single point in it, McIver took Tiernan McCann down with a high challenge.

It was left to McCurry to loft over to level with the final kick of the game.

With Dublin next week, Harte quipped: "It doesn't get any easier. You don't get any easy games, and every game offers its own unique challenge."

Derry have Mayo in Celtic Park, with McIver concluding: "They're all big games, we'd love to be going with two points but it's one dropped."

Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, J McMahon, P Harte; C Cavanagh (0-1), P McNulty; T McCann, M Donnelly (0-1), B Tierney; D McCurry (0-4, 4f, S Cavanagh (0-4, 3f), C McAliskey (0-1). Subs: C McCann for P McNulty (48), PJ Lavery and C McShane for C Cavanagh and McAliskey (55)

Yellow cards: McNulty (35), C Cavanagh (50)

Derry: E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, D McBride; B Og McAlary, K Johnston, SL McGoldrick (0-1); M Craig, B Og McGilligan; C McWilliams (0-1), B Heron (0-1), E Lynn; D McKinless, E Bradley (0-2 1f), B McGoldrick. Subs: J Kielt (0-2, 2f) for B McGoldrick (17), T O'Brien (1-0) and F Doherty for Craig and McKinless (49), E McGuckin for Kielt (61), L McGoldrick for McWilliams (69)

Yellow cards: Duffy (24) Holly 41 and 64), McIver (72); Black cards: McAlary [41 - replaced by M McIver (0-1)]; Red cards: Holly (64)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

Belfast Telegraph